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Old 10-10-2018, 12:51 PM   #11
Join Date: Dec 2017
Location: behind you
Default Re: What would be the best way to stage a mass battle?

Simple Version #2
Scale 1 hex = 1 megahex
* Turn length = 15 seconds
* Disengaged movement restricted to 2 hexes
* Squad size = 6 + 1 Hero = 7
* Hero has 6 lives.

In terms of the battlemap and figures placed on the battlemap, everything is the same as normal TFT. In fact, the mechanics of attack, movement, etc. are the same as well except "Disengaged" movement is restricted to 2 hexes.

Each Hero or Wizard on the map represents a squad of 7 figures (one megahex). The Hero is the leader of that squad. They do what he does. They all have the same stats, talents, spells, weapons, armor, etc. as the Hero/Wizard.

Handle combat as if only the Heroes and Wizards are there. When a Hero takes damage, he has the option of sacrificing a life (under his command) instead to negate that damage. When a Hero is killed, he is replaced by one of these lives and the battle continues.

Scale 1 hex = 7 megahexes
* Turn length = 45 seconds? 5 minutes? I don't know...
* All movement restricted to 1 hex
* Squad size = 49 + 1 Hero = 50
* Hero has 49 lives.
(rest is same as above)

Whatever the scale, you can choose the level of detail you want to have for the underlings/mooks/squad-members/lives.

It occurs to me that someone may read this and think I'm proposing to stage mass-combat with just 2 figures on the board. Nope. At least 1 figure per unit/squad type in your army. Two units of shieldmen, two units of spear-men, 4 units of foot-soldiers, 2 units of archers, and maybe 1 unit of cavalry could comprise one of the fighting armies. That would be 11 figures on the board for just one side of the battle. The opposing army could have a similar makeup giving a grand-total of 22 figures on the battlemap....22 figures representing 154 individual figures/men using the 1 hex = 1 megahex scale or 22 figures representing 1,100 individual figures/men using the 1 hex = 7 megahexes scale.

Considering every member of a squad to have the same stats, talents, spells, etc. as the Hero leading the squad is a simplification to reduce book-keeping. If the current Hero dies, you can promote one of the "lives" to "Hero Status" and he can have the same stats, talents, spells, etc. as the previous Hero. However, I think it would be more interesting for the "replacement Hero" to have one less stat-point and/or talent/spell than the previous Hero. Of course, there is a limit to just how low you can go based on the type of unit the squad is supposed to represent.

Last edited by platimus; 10-10-2018 at 06:07 PM.
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Old 10-11-2018, 06:45 AM   #12
Join Date: Aug 2018
Default Re: What would be the best way to stage a mass battle?

TFT is really for 1:1 scale skirmish "wargaming".

For, say 1:20, mass combat, I'd use Chainmail: it yields a fun game without the extreme complications which arise in the maddening pursuit of versimilitude, e.g. WRG's infamous 6th edition of "Ancients".
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Old 10-11-2018, 10:05 AM   #13
Join Date: May 2015
Default Re: What would be the best way to stage a mass battle?

I should add one of the issues I found when running huge TFT battles and trying to cut corners with them, namely: grouped actions.

It's a bit subtle, but it can have a massive effect on the outcome of battles, whether players notice it for what it is, or not. (The effect is more massive, the more massive the combat is, but it can make a difference even in relatively small combats.)

At it's most obvious is when a GM gives in to the temptation to resolve figures' actions one side at a time (perhaps because they are overwhelmed at the prospect of doing actions in adjDX order for many figures). The effects this has are:

1) that one entire side all gets to attack without the other side responding, so figures from the second-acting side are taken out of action before they can respond


2) a side acting all at once, especially if allowed to say which of their figures acts in what order and choose what to do after each result is seen, can coordinate their attacks, for example, continuing to attack one threat until it is taken out, which also increases their effectiveness

3) especially if there are many missile weapons and clear lines of sight in play, the organic chaos of battle can be reduced to a grinding mechanical wave of one side blasting the other side in calculated attacks, and then getting blasted back

In other words, saying "side A all acts first" can effectively be like saying "side A gets the advantages of all having higher DX than side B, and they get to coordinate their attacks without interruption".

Even breaking moves into squads (where an entire group on one side acts, then an entire group on the opposing side acts) can have a similar effect.

There can also be a similar side-effect if you have whole groups of troops have identical cookie-cutter stats with the same adjDX, especially if that adjDX is slightly different from an enemy group they're fighting, with the result that ALL of the slightly-higher-adjDX forces go before their foes, all one after the other so there are no interruptions from anything else happening.

And similarly, the new suggestion that made it into the new ITL, where if opposing figures have the same DX, all those on the side that won Movement Initiative get to go before the other side, has an effect as large as that is the case, which may often be never in smaller combats, but can be massive if there are masses of figures all with the same adjDX because cookie-cutter troop stats are being used... but it will only apply to those troops who happen to have the same adjDX, which is a rather strange effect which gets multiplied by the number of troops who have been given the same adjDX for simplicity's sake. i.e. a weird side effect.

For those who care, a solution can begin with recognizing which troops have generic stats that represent an average but don't literally mean every soldier like that has the exact same stats.

Then a mechanism can be chosen for them that doesn't result in entire large groups of them all acting at the same time. All of the methods I described under LEVEL TWO or LEVEL THREE above can remove this issue by using a different resolution mechanic for these troops that abstracts out the adjDX action sequence. Or, you can change the sequence of when such characters act since they're not all really supposed to literally have identical adjDX. One scheme that can help a lot is to go down the line of battle from one side to the other but alternate one figure from one side then one figure from the opposing side. Another is to take small groups of opposing figures that are involved with each other, and resolve their actions in adjDX order before proceeding to the next group of figures, moving through groups of opposing figures in a spatial pattern (and possibly using some physical markers as a memory aid) so you can keep track of who's moved or not.
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Old 10-12-2018, 04:29 PM   #14
Join Date: Jun 2018
Default Re: What would be the best way to stage a mass battle?

Have you considered Metagaming's 1980 "The Lords of Underearth"? It was marketed as TFT/ITL compatible and was used for combat involving both companies and individuals. Companies would vary in numbers and composition. Individuals moved slightly faster than companies so I think you could adjust that based on the scale you decide upon. Ranged attacks were not considered. Turns represented 5 minutes.

It used a company's combined ST and DX divided by 13 (for leather armor) to determine their "Combat Factor". The combat factor could be adjusted if the company was unarmored or wearing chain. An individual's combat factor was similar, the sum of ST and DX was divided by 10, and adjustments for special abilities and magic items.

Companies could attack adjacent units. Combat factors were compared to determine a ratio (attacker/defender) and the ratio might be modified based on morale or terrain. The die were cast and a table consulted. Results ranged from all attackers being defeated, the attackers retreating a hex, the defenders retreating one hex, or all defenders being defeated.
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